Request for Qualifications, Bid Number: OC-170002, Arkansas Statewide Outcomes Evaluation of Specialty Courts

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DESCRIPTION: Arkansas Statewide Outcomes Evaluation of Specialty Courts

AGENCY: Administrative Office of the Courts


BID POSTING DATE: 06/08/2017

PURPOSE: The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). This documents sets forth the requirements for a statewide outcome and impact evaluation of Arkansas’ Specialty Courts programs and practices for use by the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee. The AOC will verify that proposals meet minimum mandatory requirements. A single vendor will be selected for this project. The AOC will review the submissions based on the criteria outlined in this document.


Via email to: and U.S. Postal mail at:                                                    Administrative Office of the Courts

 Division of Drug Court Programs              

625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR 72201


TYPE OF CONTRACT: Single Vendor Contract. The term of the contract will be for one (1) year. The anticipated starting date for the contract is August 1st, 2017.The completed work and subsequent reports shall be done by June 20, 2018 with a one month follow-up period.

ALTERATION OF ORIGINAL RFQ DOCUMENTS: The original written or electronic language of the RFQ documents shall not be changed or altered except by approved written addendum issued by the State. This does not eliminate a Bidder from taking exception(s) to non-mandatory terms and conditions, but does clarify that the Bidder cannot change the original document’s written or electronic language. The Bidder must submit an exception(s) in separate written or electronic language in a manner that clearly explains the exception(s).

REQUIREMENT OF AMENDMENT: This RFQ may be modified only by amendments written and authorized by the State. Bidders are cautioned to ensure that they have received or obtained, and responded, to all amendments to the RFQ prior to submission. It is the responsibility of the vendor to check the AOC website, for all addendums.

RESPONSE DOCUMENTS: In accordance with the Arkansas Procurement Law and Rules, it is the responsibility of vendors to submit bids at the place, and on or before the date and time, set in the bid solicitation documents. Bid documents received after the date and time designated for bid opening are considered late bids and shall not be considered. Bid documents arriving late, which are to be returned and are not clearly marked, may be opened to determine for which bid the submission is intended.

PRICING: Not requested and do not include in response.

MINORITY BUSINESS POLICY: Minority participation is encouraged in this and in all other procurements by state agencies. Minority is defined by Arkansas Code Annotated 15-4-303 as a lawful permanent resident of this state who is: African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander American or a Service Disabled Veteran as designated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission conducts a certification process for minority businesses. Bidder unable to include minority-owned business as subcontractors “may explain the circumstances preventing minority inclusion.”

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY POLICY: In compliance with Arkansas Code Annotated 19-11-104, the Office of State Procurement is required to have a copy of the vendor’s Equal Opportunity Policy prior to issuing a contract award. EO Policies may be submitted in electronic format to the following email address: , or as a hard copy accompanying the solicitation response. Vendors that do not have an established EO policy will not be prohibited from receiving a contract award, but are required to submit a written statement to that effect.

EMPLOYMENT OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: Pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated 19-11-105, all bidders must certify prior to award of the contract that they do not employ or contract with any illegal immigrants in their contracts with the State. Bidders shall certify online at:

ADDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS: The State objects to, and shall not consider, any additional terms or conditions submitted by a bidder, including any appearing in documents attached as part of a bidder’s response that conflict with mandatory terms and conditions required by law. In signing and submitting a bid, a bidder agrees that any additional terms or conditions, whether submitted intentionally or inadvertently, shall have no force or effect.

VISA ACCEPTANCE: Awarded contractors should have the capability of accepting the State’s authorized VISA Procurement Card (p-card) as a method of payment. Price changes or additional fee(s) may not be assessed when accepting the p-card as a form of payment. The successful bidder may receive payment from the State by the p-card in the same manner as other VISA purchases. VISA acceptance is preferred but is not the exclusive method of payment.

EO-98-04 GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER: Bidders should complete the Disclosure Forms issued with this bid.

CURRENCY: All bid pricing must be United States dollars and cents.

LANGUAGE: Bids will only be accepted in the English language.






Section 1: GENERAL INFORMATION                                                                                                                                        


The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). This document sets for the requirements for a statewide outcome and impact evaluation of Arkansas’ Specialty Courts. The AOC will verify that proposals meet minimum mandatory requirements. AOC will review the submission based on the criteria outlined in this document. Any resulting contract shall contain performance standards which identify expected deliverables, performance measures or outcomes.

As part of Act 895 of 2015, Arkansas Specialty Courts must undergo program evaluations to determine their adherence to standards specific to specialty courts as well as determine short term and long term outcomes of these programs. To comply with statute, the AOC is seeking a vendor to conduct a comprehensive statewide outcome and impact evaluation for use by the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee.

ISSUING OFFICE: The AOC, as the issuing office, is the sole point of contact throughout this solicitation. Questions regarding RFQ related matters should be addressed to the buyer and point of contact: Kari Powers at (501)410-1944 or

RFQ OPENING DATE AND LOCATION: To be considered, submissions must be received prior to the time and date specified on page one of the RFQ or at any time after that date during the entire time the list is in effect. All responses shall be opened at the following location:

                Administrative Office of the Courts

                625 Marshall Street

                Little Rock, AR 72201

RESERVATION: This RFQ does not commit the State Purchasing Official to award a contract, to pay costs incurred in the preparation of response to this request, or to procure or contract for services or supplies.

ACCOUNTING PROVISIONS: In the event of any resulting contract, the Contractor shall be required to maintain all pertinent financial and accounting records and evidence pertaining to the contract in accordance with generally accepted principles of accounting and other procedures specified by the State of Arkansas. Access will be granted upon request, to State or Federal Government entities or any of their duly authorized representatives. Financial and accounting records shall be made available, upon request, to the State of Arkansas’ designee(s) at any time during the contract period and any extension thereof, and for five (5) years from expiration date and final payment on the contract or extension thereof.

PROPRIETARY INFORMATION: Proprietary information submitted in response to this RFQ will be processed in accordance with applicable State of Arkansas procurement procedures. Qualifications and documents pertaining to the RFQ become the property of the State and shall be open to public inspection after proposal opening. Should a firm require non-disclosure of any information, it must be clearly marked as proprietary information and be submitted separately, sealed from the proposal response.

PUBLICITY: News releases pertaining to the RFQ or the services, study, data, or project to which it relates will not be made without prior written approval of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and then only in accordance with the written instructions from the Director. No results of the program are to be released without written approval from the AOC Director and then only to persons designated.

CAUTION TO VENDORS: 1. Prior to any contract award, all communication concerning this bid solicitation must be addressed through the AOC. 2. The State shall have the right to award or not award a contract, if it is in the best interest of the State to do so.

CONFIDENTIALITY: The offeror shall be bound to confidentiality of any information that its employees may become aware of during the qualification process. Consistent and/or uncorrected breaches of confidentiality may constitute grounds for disqualification.

DEFINITION OF TERMS: The AOC has made every effort to use industry-accepted terminology in this RFQ and will attempt to further clarify any point of item in question as indicated in “Clarification of RFQ”. The words “respondent”, “vendor”, and “offeror” are used synonymously in this document. The word “contractor” refers to the vendor selected for any contract resulting from this RFQ. The word “Agency” refers to the Administrative Office of the Courts.  

NEGOTIATIONS: As provided in this RFQ and under regulations, discussions may be conducted with responsible offerors who submit proposals determined to be reasonably susceptible of being selected for award for the purpose of obtaining clarification of proposal response and negotiation for best and final offers.

CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT: In the event of a resulting contract the successful vendor(s) shall at all times observe and comply with federal and State laws, local laws, ordinances, orders, and regulations existing at the time of or enacted subsequent to the execution of this contract which in any manner affect the completion of the work. The successful vendor shall indemnify and save harmless the agency and all its officers, representatives, agents, and employees against any claim or liability arising from or based upon the violation of any such law, ordinance, regulation, order or decree by an employee, representative, or subcontractor of the successful vendor.

STATEMENT OF LIABILITY: The state will demonstrate reasonable care but shall not be liable in the event of loss, destruction, or theft of contractor-owned items or technical literature to be delivered or to be used in the installation of deliverables. The vendor is required to retain total liability for items and technical literature until the services have been accepted by the “authorized agency official”. At no time, will the State be responsible for or accept liability for any vendor-owned items.


The Vendor shall maintain all pertinent financial and accounting records and evidence pertaining to the contract in accordance with generally accepted principles of accounting and as specified by the State of Arkansas Law. Upon request, access shall be granted to State or Federal Government entities or any of their duly authorized representatives.

Financial and accounting records shall be made available, upon request, to the State of Arkansas’s designee(s) at any time during the contract period and any extension thereof, and for five (5) years from expiration date and final payment on the contract or extension thereof.

TERMINATION OF CONTRACT: In the event the State no longer needs the services specified in the RFQ and any resulting contract or purchase order due to program changes, changes in laws, rules, or regulations, or relocation of offices, the State may cancel any resulting contract or purchase order by giving the contractor written notice of such cancellation thirty (30) days prior to the date of cancellation.

PRIME CONTRACTOR RESPONSIBILITY: In the event of a resulting contract, the selected respondent will be required to assume prime contractor responsibility for the contract and will be the sole point of contact with regard to all commodities, services and support.

AWARD RESPONSIBILITY: The State Procurement Official will be responsible for award and administration of any contract resulting from this RFQ.

TECHNOLOGY ACCESS: Prior to accessing data collected by the State or other local courts, the contractor must agree:

1. To keep all data confidential;

2. That the data are at all times property of the State

3. That if the contractor accesses the state’s computer system, the contractor must comply with all safety and security protocols as set forth by the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and Arkansas Department of Community Correction (ACC).

4. That the contractor must permit the AOC, ACC and the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee (SCPAC) to review the data, methodology used, and the purported results before they are made public;

5. That if the AOC does not agree with the contractor’s results, the AOC has the option to provide a written disclaimer to all the published results.














Section 2: SCOPE OF WORK                                                                                                                                                        


                Background: The growth of Specialty Courts began with Drug Courts. The rationale of the drug court model is supported through research. This research has shown that treating substance abuse leads to a reduction in criminal behavior as well as use of the health care system. The multi-disciplinary team and integration of treatment and other social services with court system processing has led to multiple types of specialty courts. Drug Courts have also been shown to be effective at reducing recidivism and in reducing taxpayer costs due to positive outcomes for drug court participants including fewer re-arrests, less jail time and less time in prison. In recent years, the drug court model has expanded to include higher risk offenders, different types of offenders (DWI, veterans, juveniles). These courts have also been studied to determine potential outcomes. A primary goal of these courts is to reduce drug and alcohol use disorder and related crime. The Arkansas Adult Drug Courts, Veterans Courts, DWI Courts, Mental Health Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, HOPE Courts, Swift Courts and Alternative Sentencing Courts follow state standards and statutes as well as national guidelines when designing and operating their programs. Through the implementation of state standards, guiding state statutes and national guidelines, the Arkansas Specialty Courts work to provide positive outcomes related to sobriety, public safety and criminal behavior.

                Purpose of Evaluation: Arkansas has several sections of state statutes that mandate statewide evaluations of its drug courts and other specialty courts for use by the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee. The committee is charged pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-10-139 with evaluation of specialty court programs:

(c)(1) The Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee shall evaluate and make findings with respect to all specialty court programs operated by a circuit court or district court in this state and refer the findings to the Supreme Court.

(2) An evaluation under this section shall reflect nationally recognized and peer-reviewed standards for each particular type of specialty court program.

(3) The Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee shall also:

(A) Establish, implement, and operate a uniform specialty court program evaluation process to ensure specialty court program resources are uniformly directed to high-risk and medium-risk offenders and that specialty court programs provide effective and proven practices that reduce recidivism, as well as other factors such as substance dependency, among participants;

(B) Establish an evaluation process that ensures that any new and existing specialty court program that is a drug court meets standards for drug court operation under § 16-98-302(b); and

(C) Promulgate rules to be approved by the Supreme Court to carry out the evaluation process under this section.

(d) A specialty court program shall be evaluated under the following schedule:

(1) A specialty court program established on or after April 1, 2015, shall be evaluated after its second year of funded operation;

(2) A specialty court program in existence on April 1, 2015, shall be evaluated under the requirements of this section prior to expending resources budgeted for fiscal year 2017; and

(3) A specialty court program shall be reevaluated every two (2) years after the initial evaluation.

§ 16-98-302

(b) The goals of the drug court programs in this state shall be consistent with the standards adopted by the United States Department of Justice and recommended by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and shall include the following key components:

(1) Integration of substance abuse treatment with justice system case processing;

(2) Use of a non-adversarial approach in which prosecution and defense promote public safety while protecting the right of the accused to due process;

(3) Early identification, with the use of a validated risk-needs assessement,1 of eligible moderate-to-high-risk participants and prompt placement of eligible participants;

(4) Access to a continuum of treatment, rehabilitation, and related services;

(5) Frequent testing for alcohol and illicit drugs;

(6) A coordinated strategy among the judge, prosecution, defense, and treatment providers to govern offender compliance;

(7) Ongoing judicial interaction with each participant;

(8) Monitoring and evaluation of the achievement of program goals and effectiveness;

(9) Continuing interdisciplinary education to promote effective planning, implementation, and operation; and

(10) Development of partnerships with public agencies and community-based organizations to generate local support and enhance drug court effectiveness.

(d) Drug court program success shall be determined by the rate of recidivism of all drug court participants, including participants who do not graduate.


The purpose of this evaluation is to meet statutory mandates and look at program outcomes in the state to understand the impact of specialty courts in Arkansas. The primary purpose of the outcome evaluation will be to establish that the selected courts are demonstrating an impact on criminal justice recidivism and program completion. The evaluation will use a quasi-experimental design with a comparison group selected from defendants who were eligible for drug court but were not referred.

Key questions to answer in the evaluation include:

1. What was the operation structure of the Arkansas Specialty Courts during the study period?

2. Who was served by the Arkansas Specialty Courts during the study period?

3. Are specialty court program resources directed to high-risk and medium-risk offenders?

4. What combination and types of services were delivered in Arkansas Specialty Courts during the study period? How do Arkansas Specialty Courts differ from one another as they relate to program practices and populations served?

5. How do the pre- and post- stabilization factors of the population including housing, employment and education compare?

6. How do participants exit Arkansas Specialty Courts and what participant and program characteristics are associated with successful completion/graduation?

7. How does the recidivism rate of Arkansas Specialty Courts compare to the recidivism rates of a matched comparison group?

8. What participant and program characteristics predict successful outcomes (program completion, decreased recidivism and substance dependency)?

Resources Available:

The AOC, ACC and local courts will supply the Vendor with a data set approved by the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee as well as data definitions. The State will meet with the contracted Vendor to further discuss data elements and sets prior to analysis. The State expects that the contracted Vendor will observe and interview program staff at multiple locations and that the locations will be inclusive of adult circuit court, adult district court, DWI, veterans and juvenile drug court types to gain an understanding of program operations and the breadth of program designs represented in the data sets.  The AOC expects to be given at least two weeks to review and comment on a rough draft of the report. The AOC expects that the final report will be received within 11 months of contract issuance.


The Vendor should demonstrate expertise in conducting statewide program outcome evaluations of a variety of specialty courts assessing multiple factors including recidivism, sobriety and cost/benefit variables. Evidence of experience through published research, prior completed projects, policy development and forged partnerships with national leaders within the fields of specialty courts should be demonstrated.

The Vendor should have expertise and understanding in the methodology surrounding specialty court programs, evidence-based treatment practices and the complex issues involved in evaluation of specialty court data sets, and expertise in performance measures to be evaluated within operating specialty court programs.

The Vendor should provide documentation evidencing a minimum experience level of personnel and individual areas of expertise. These areas of expertise should reflect experience within specialty court evaluation, data collection and analyzation that include qualitative and quantitative research methods. The Vendor should list the last three (3) projects completed.

The Vendor should be able to demonstrate through prior projects that the key evaluation questions, outcome data, program and participant characteristics as indicated in the introduction were evaluated and reported.

State law requires that all contracts for services include Performance Standards for measuring the overall quality of services provided. In Performance Standards, expected deliverables, performance measures, and outcomes are identified. The section defines the acceptable standards a Vendor must meet to avoid assessment of damages.

The State may be open to negotiations of Performance Standards prior to contract award, prior to the commencement of services, or at times throughout the contract duration. The State shall have the right to modify, add, or delete performance standards throughout the term of the contract, should the State determine it is in its best interest to do so.

Any changes or additions to Performance Standards will be made in good faith following acceptable industry standards and may include the input of the vendor to establish standards that are reasonably achievable. All changes made to the performance standards shall become an official part of the contract. The performance standards shall continue throughout the term of the contract.

Failure to meet minimum Performance Standards as specified shall result in the assessment of damages. Should any compensation be owed to the agency due to the assessment of damages, vendor shall follow the direction of the agency regarding compensation process.


The Vendor must be able to start work by August 1, 2017 and conclude by August 1, 2018.

The final evaluation report must be available for dissemination by June 20, 2018.

The Vendor shall provide timely reporting per an established work plan and contract. The standard for this will be quarterly reports that include implementation progress, evaluation accomplishments, challenges and solutions, and planned activities.

Acceptability levels for quarterly reports will be: no more than one week past a quarterly deadline.

Vendor will provide milestone reports that include evaluation methods, data analyses, findings and recommendations.

Acceptability levels for milestone reports will be: no more than one week past a milestone report deadline.

A working timeline document will be provided at the start of the project, with quarterly revisions to be approved by the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee or AOC.

Deliverables include:

 A detailed report for the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee that provides outcome evaluation conclusions for the different types of specialty courts in the state.

Include recommendations for areas of improvement, technical assistance and training needs.

The Vendor will provide an in-person presentation of the outcome report results to the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee.

A report on outcomes for individual programs selected.








Section 3: CRITERIA FOR SELECTION                                                                                                                                       

·         Do not provide responses to items in this section


1. AOC will review each Response Packet to verify submission requirements have been met. Response Packets that do not meet submission requirements will be disqualified and will not be evaluated.

2. The Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee appointed Evaluation Committee will evaluate all qualifying responses. Evaluation will be based on vendor’s response to the Information for Evaluation section included in the Response Packet. Other agencies, consultants, and experts may also examine documents at the discretion of the AOC. The successful Response Packet selection will be determined by a majority decision of the committee.

3. The Information for Evaluation section has been divided into sub-sections:

·         Documented experience and qualifications relating to specialty court program evaluations, outcome and impact evaluations.

·         Detail experiences with prior completed evaluation projects of similar size, scope and complexity including deliverables.

·         Provide the experience and qualifications of personnel that will be assigned to the proposed project.

·         Demonstrate experience with data analyses for the purpose of measuring performance of specialty court programs.

·         Demonstrate experience and understanding of best practices of the variety of specialty courts.

·         Provide a description of your implementation plan for this project.


Vendor must agree to all evaluation processes and procedures as defined in this solicitation. The submission of the Response Packet will signify the vendor’s understanding and agreement that subjective arguments will be made during the evaluation of the proposals.










Section 4: GENERAL CONTRACTUAL REQUIREMENTS                                                                                                      

·         Do not provide responses to items in this section


1. All invoices shall be forwarded to:

Administrative Office of the Courts

Attn: Joyce French, Financial Manager

625 Marshall Street

Little Rock, AR 72201

2. Payment will be made in accordance with applicable State of Arkansas accounting procedures upon acceptance of goods and services by the agency.

3. The State shall not be invoiced in advance of delivery and acceptance of any goods or services.

4. Payment will be made only after the vendor has successfully satisfied the agency as to the reliability and effectiveness of the goods or services purchased.

5. The vendor should invoice the agency by an itemized list of charges. The agency’s Purchase Order Number and/or the Contract Number should be referenced on each invoice.

6. Other sections of this Bid Solicitation may contain additional requirements for invoicing.

7. Selected vendor must be registered to receive payment and future Bid Solicitation notifications. Vendors may register on-line at


The Vendor must provide the State with a written request for a price increase. The State shall have the right to approve or deny the request.


Should the State and Vendor interpret specifications differently, either party may request clarification. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the determination of the State shall be final and controlling.